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Accepted Paper:

If power is an image: Skopje 2014  
Fabio Mattioli (The University of Melbourne)

Paper long abstract:

"We saw Skopje as in a Dream. Macedonia is in Europe, already" titled the newspaper "Večer", interpreting the collective amazement that followed the public announcement of urban plan Skopje 2014. In this video clip, "nice", "European" and "modern" double-decker buses, triumphal arches and renaissance façades re-replace the "ugly" and "old" socialist buildings of the contemporary Skopje. These images are dense with meaning, as they recall mythicized memories of the city before the earthquake, e.g. double-decker buses and the Army Hall, dispel the "dark" socialist time thus prospecting a "paradisiacal" European future.

The paper will analyze the use of aesthetics as a "technology of power" embedded in social memory, considering images used by planners and contesters alike. It will try to decrypt the network of meaning condensed in those images, focusing on their performative function as devices that use experiences of the collective memory as tools for shaping a new perception of the urban and social landscape.

Panel W084
Balkan cities, Balkan dreams: exploring the future(s) of the city
  Session 1